It seems that waves are finally being made in terms of diversity in shape, size and colour in the fashion world as this year’s New York Fashion Week has been dubbed the most diverse in years.

Statistics show that 31.9 percent of models that walked in the 120 Fall 2016 runway shows this year were non-white models, a great improvement from the 28.4 percent of non-white castings in Spring 2016 and a measly 20.9 percent in Spring 2015.  It appears that various aspects of the fashion industry are whole-heartedly championing diversity and the idea that ‘white’ is not the only beauty.

Last year, black model Ashley Crew kicked off a diversity-centred social media phenomenon by designing a black tote bag with the words “Black Models Matter” scrawled across it. The metaphorical ball of diversity has been rolling ever since, with designer and judge on the hit fashion design contest ‘Project Runway’ Zac Posen posting a picture on Instagram of him wearing the same bag, and casting a number of diverse models in his New York show – an impressive 87 percent of his models, to be exact.


It’s not just Zac Posen and Ashley Crew that are driving the movement however, as other designers such as Kanye West and Sophie Theallet cast a majority of non-white models in their runway shows and Victoria’s Secret model Maria Borges made fashion history by being the first black model to walk the Victoria’s Secret runway show with her hair completely natural.

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Unfortunately, a number of brands are reluctant to embrace the change to diversify, with R13, Monse and Yigal Azrouel casting less than 5% non-white models in their runway shows. Nevertheless, progress is still being made and the future is bright for a diversified modelling industry.